The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) anticipates higher than average precipitation levels and cooler than average temperatures according to their U.S. Winter Outlook. With one of the strongest El Niño’s on record underway, favorable precipitation will likely continue to impact the Southern Plains.

As of November 29, 2015, Crop Progress reported that 79 percent of winter wheat had emerged in Texas –down 3-percent compared with the 2010-2014 average. Cooler conditions were forecast for much of cattle country, for the week ending November 29, 2015, as 55 percent of selected States reported winter wheat in good or better condition— slightly lower than conditions at the same time last year.

The December 8, 2015, U.S. Drought Monitor reported D0 Abnormally Dry and D1 Moderate Drought in much of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas–a major improvement compared with last year’s severe drought conditions. Even with the recent precipitation and beginning of El Niño, much of the West still reported D3 Extreme Drought and D4 Exceptional Drought conditions (Dec. 8, 2015 U.S. Drought Monitor).